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Ecology Unit. What is ecology? Ecology- the scientific study of interactions between organisms and their environments, focusing on energy transfer.

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Presentation on theme: "Ecology Unit. What is ecology? Ecology- the scientific study of interactions between organisms and their environments, focusing on energy transfer."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ecology Unit

2 What is ecology? Ecology- the scientific study of interactions between organisms and their environments, focusing on energy transfer.

3 The environment is made up of two factors: Biotic factors- all living organisms inhabiting the Earth Abiotic factors- nonliving parts of the environment (i.e. temperature, soil, light, moisture, air currents)

4 OrganismOrganism- any unicellular or multicellular form exhibiting all of the characteristics of life, an individual plant or animal. The lowest level of organization

5 PopulationPopulation-a group of organisms of one species living in the same place at the same time that interbreed and compete with each other for resources (ex. food, mates, shelter)

6 CommunityCommunity- several interacting populations that inhabit a common environment and are interdependent, includes only biotic factors.

7 EcosystemEcosystem- populations in a community and the abiotic factors with which they interact (ex. marine, terrestrial)

8 BiosphereBiosphere- life supporting portions of Earth composed of air, land, fresh water, and salt water. The highest level of organization

9 Organism Population Community Biosphere Ecosystem

10 “The ecological niche of an organism depends not only on where it lives but also on what it does. By analogy, it may be said that the habitat is the organism's ‘address’, and the niche is its ‘profession’, biologically speaking.” Odum - Fundamentals of Ecology

11 Habitat vs. Niche Niche - the role a species plays in a community (job) Habitat- the place in which an organism lives out its life (address)

12 Habitat vs. Niche A niche is determined by the tolerance limitations of an organism, or a limiting factor. Limiting factor- any biotic or abiotic factor that restricts the existence of organisms in a specific environment.

13 Examples of limiting factors- Amount of water Amount of food Temperature Habitat vs. Niche

14 Feeding Relationships There are 3 main types of feeding relationships 1. Producer- Consumer 2. Predator- Prey 3. Parasite- Host

15 Feeding Relationships Producer- all autotrophs (plants), they trap energy from the sun Bottom of the food chain

16 Feeding Relationships Consumer- all heterotrophs: they ingest food containing the sun’s energy Herbivores Carnivores Omnivores Decomposers

17 Feeding Relationships Consumer- Herbivores –Eat plants Primary consumers

18 Feeding Relationships Consumer-Carnivores-eat meat Predators –Hunt animals for food. -Can be secondary, tertiary, or quaternary consumers

19 Feeding Relationships Consumer- Carnivores- eat meat Scavengers –Feed on carrion, dead animals

20 Feeding Relationships Consumer- Omnivores -eat both plants and animals

21 Feeding Relationships Consumer- Decomposers Breakdown the complex compounds of dead and decaying plants and animals into simpler molecules that can be absorbed

22 Symbiotic Relationships Symbiosis- two species living together 3 Types of symbiosis: 1. Commensalism 2. Parasitism 3. Mutualism

23 Symbiotic Relationships Commensalism- one species benefits and the other is neither harmed nor helped Ex. orchids on a tree Epiphytes: A plant, such as a tropical orchid or a bromeliad, that grows on another plant upon which it depends for mechanical support but not for nutrients. Also called aerophyte, air plant.

24 Symbiotic Relationships Commensalism- one species benefits and the other is neither harmed nor helped Ex. polar bears and cyanobacteria

25 Symbiotic Relationships Parasitism- one species benefits (parasite) and the other is harmed (host) Parasite-Host relationship

26 Symbiotic Relationships Parasitism- parasite-host Ex. lampreys, leeches, fleas, ticks,tapeworm

27 Symbiotic Relationships Mutualism- beneficial to both species Ex. cleaning birds and cleaner shrimp

28 Symbiotic Relationships Mutualism- beneficial to both species Ex. lichen

29 Type of relationship Species harmed Species benefits Species neutral Commensalism Parasitism Mutualism = 1 species

30 Trophic Levels Each link in a food chain is known as a trophic level. Trophic levels represent a feeding step in the transfer of energy and matter in an ecosystem.

31 Trophic Levels Biomass- the amount of organic matter comprising a group of organisms in a habitat. As you move up a food chain, both available energy and biomass decrease. Energy is transferred upwards but is diminished with each transfer.

32 Trophic Levels Producers- Autotrophs Primary consumers- Herbivores Secondary consumers- small carnivores Tertiary consumers- top carnivores ENERGYENERGY

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34 Trophic Levels Food chain- simple model that shows how matter and energy move through an ecosystem

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36 Trophic Levels Food web- shows all possible feeding relationships in a community at each trophic level Represents a network of interconnected food chains

37 Food chainFood web (just 1 path of energy) (all possible energy paths)

38 Nutrient Cycles Cycling maintains homeostasis (balance) in the environment. 3 cycles to investigate: 1. Water cycle 2. Carbon cycle 3. Nitrogen cycle

39 Water cycle- Evaporation, transpiration, condensation, precipitation

40 Water cycle-

41 Carbon cycle- Photosynthesis and respiration cycle carbon and oxygen through the environment.

42 Carbon cycle-

43 Nitrogen cycle- Atmospheric nitrogen (N 2 ) makes up nearly 78%-80% of air. Organisms can not use it in that form. Lightning and bacteria convert nitrogen into usable forms.

44 Nitrogen cycle- Only in certain bacteria and industrial technologies can fix nitrogen. Nitrogen fixation-convert atmospheric nitrogen (N 2 ) into ammonium (NH 4 + ) which can be used to make organic compounds like amino acids. N 2 NH 4 +

45 Nitrogen cycle- Nitrogen-fixing bacteria: Some live in a symbiotic relationship with plants of the legume family (e.g., soybeans, clover, peanuts).

46 Nitrogen cycle- Some nitrogen-fixing bacteria live free in the soil. Nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria are essential to maintaining the fertility of semi-aquatic environments like rice paddies.

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48 Toxins in food chains- While energy decreases as it moves up the food chain, toxins increase in potency. This is called biological magnification Ex: DDT & Bald Eagles


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